Global VR offers the occasion to "wannabe" GI to discover in arcade the "wonderful" U.S. Army world. In America's Army (AA for close friends), the player makes his firt steps as a new recruit of Uncle Sam's grand army... Before arcade market, U.S. army has already invaded (sic) PC, console and cellular phones markets. All kind of merchandising has also been launched (see official website)... According to Global VR, it's a new communication channel with young americans. Training exercices are 100% official and were created with cooperation of units of the U.S. army : exrcices are always released with target (of course it's not question of taking part here in an unspecified war, it's only training), the game get the green label "non-violent target shooter". To convince young amercian that the army it's good, authentic army videos and other information have been added to the game. Depending on the results, the drill sergeant will evaluate his pupil's skills: teamwork, accuracy, speed and judgment... Those are indeed qualities of a real soldier to join U.S. army leaderboard (notice that torture is'nt quoted). The game has 8 levels (sniper course, shotgun training, mover target, ...) and the "dynamic" difficulty system will make the game easy for new recruits and more difficult for experienced players. AA can be played up to 2 players.
Atlus announced on Tuesday that all 150 machines named Udemashii (Arm Spirit) in operation in Japan will be recalled. The cause: 3 players broke their arms while playing this arm wrestling simulator: a Japanese and South-Korean and French tourists. Throughout the 10 levels the game counts, you battle (among others) a Chihuahua, a french maid, a drunken martial arts Master to finish with a professional wrestler. Ayano Sakiyama, spokeswoman of Atlus is surprised: "The machine isn't that strong, much less so than a muscular man. Even women should be able to beat it". "We think that maybe some players get overexcited and twist their arms in an unnatural way." she said. Machines will be checked for any signs of malfunction as a precaution. Atlus should re-brand the game as "Arm Breaker", at least, potential players will be warned. This event brings to mind a similar story happened in the 90's. The game was Taito's Sonic Blast Man. The company was accused by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to have failed to report about 70 players injury cases. Taito had to pay a $ 50 000 fine and the game disappeared from Taito America's catalog. Reaction was faster this time.
Sega finally changed its mind! During the last AAMA (American Amusement Machine Association) distributor gala that was held on 3rd august in Itasca, Illinois, the blue hedgehog company announced the future american (and possibly european) release of Virtua Fighter 5. This move's purpose is surely to counter the close arrival of Namco's Tekken 6. The english version of Virtua Fighter 5 will be based on japanese version C but without VF.Net features that will be deactivated. The fighting game will ship in the same Lindbergh Universal Cabinet that already hosted the widescreen version of Virtua Tennis 3. Release is planned before the end of the year.
During august will be released brand new car racing game Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune. It's the third one. Namco prepared some novelties: decorate your car as you like it, enter hundreds of races, play a new "ghost car" mode. Saving cards are still in but cards and card readers used on Maximum Tune 2 cannot be used on Maximum Tune 3 (level up fans will have it hard). New players weren't forgotten since a new concept appeared, gradual learning curve, which will turn casual gamers into hardcore fans! Maximum Tune 3 runs on Namco new N2 hardware, which is said to bring "unprecedented speed and realism"... Multiplayer mode will let 4 drivers face each others. You can contact your Namco distributor for further information knowing that an converting MT 2 into MT3 upgrade kit will be available 2 months after the complete version.
Good news for all pinball lovers: the latest Stern will hit Belgium tomorrow. While playing Spider-Man, you must fight enemies from the 3 movies: Green Goblin, Doc Ock, Sandman and Venom. The playfield is loaded full of interesting features such as a magnet holding the ball, motorized targets, a moving character and multiball modes. The movie staff was involved in the machine design, it includes over 800 voice effects and dot matrix animations showing key scenes of the motion picture. From tomorrow on, Spider-Man will be available from Namusco. About Namusco, M. Bernard Leroy recently left the company, he leaves his Managing Director position to M. Urbain Théwissen (who has been a manager for 6 years). M. Stefaan Michels becomes the new Sales and Export Manager. We wish a lot of success to this new team.
Ben Herman (SNK Playmore's american branch president) recently said the company would develop more arcade games. But on the japanese side, people are not that optimistic. Indeed, the platform switch from Atomiswave to Taito Type X² proved to be harder than tought as problems were encountered, notably regarding products international distribution by Taito. Two games are being developed on this hardware: a new Samurai Shodown and The King of Fighters Maximum Impact Regulation "A" which last test phase is planned for August with a showcase at September's AM Show. However, any delay could mean the end of any further amusement activity for SNK Playmore. Everything will depend on reactions to this KOF. Talking about KOF, the filming of a live motion picture based on King of Fighters will begin in 2008 in Asia. It will be an american/japanese coproduction played in english and directed by Hong-Kong director Gordon Chan (Fist of Legend). The screenplay is signed Chris Chow (Fearless).
After a price drop for Need for Speed Underground (for which Carbon upgrade will be released in 2008), Global VR just announced lower prices for some titles including UltraPin. In addition, the base version of this "pinball simulator" now includes 12 tables. Operators owning the old version can obtain an upgrade CD free of charge containing the 6 new tables as well as a software update by simply contacting their local Global VR distributor. These new tables are: Funhouse, Firepower, Eight Ball Champ, Pin•Bot, Fathom and Black Knight. These price drops were made possible thanks to initiatives taken recently by the company to lower operational costs and to the manufacturing optimizations due to large ordered quantities. Next titles will also be affected.
Seen in TF1's one o'clock news (the biggest french private TV channel) is a 2 minutes report on arcade games. The action was shot in Tokyo where we could see people playing Taiko no Tatsujin, DrumMania V3, beatmania, GuitarFreaks, Dance Dance Revolution SuperNOVA, Pop'n Music and Mah-jong Fight Club. Reporters even briefly explained the operation of Gundam - Senjou no Kizuna, Sangokushi Taisen and Star Horse 2. The news presenter then concludes the report by these words: "Japan will always astonish us that much with their video games.". This report can be seen on the show's website. It's very uncommon for mainstream medias to talk about arcade games and it's worth greeting them for that. Unfortunately, they were once more showed as a "japanese curiosity" even though some of these games stand in our european arcades (those nobody talks about). The time when we were updated with the latest arcade news through the consoles magazines is far behind. Nevertheless, the trend is slowly changing. For instance, english gaming magazine GamesTM recently published a preview of Silent Hill - The Arcade and an After Burner Climax review while american Hardcore Gamer Magazine presented an Aliens Extermination review. Television is also concerned as last friday, US TV channel Spike broadcast a report on Big Buck Hunter Pro developers Play Mechanix in its Game Head show. Air time was 1am, but it's a good start. Hopefully these weren't single shots. Now the door is opening again, it's up to sector actors to better communicate with the external world.
Here's a short report of the World Club Champion Football World Cup that took place on May 19th at Woking's Big Apple (in England). After a 100% italian final, AC3 won against AC West Bromwich by 2 goals to 1 and a tie (1-1). Teams who reached the knockouts were the Japanese Bambi Lion Heart and RC Blue Eagle, Spanish Hidalgos Team V and Allastors, English Plattie and Goal Architect and of course Italian AC3 and AC Bromwich. AC3 eliminated the japanese champion Bambi (1-1, 2-1) then Plattie beat Hidalgos Team V (3-1, 1-2). Goal Architect gave a hard time before losing versus AC West Bromwich (1-0, 0-1, 1-2) and RC Blue Eagle beat the Allastors (2-2, 2-1). Semi-finals were full of suspense; AC3 started by crushing Plattie (2-0), this one took his revenge (3-1) before losing the third match (1-4). All meetings of AC West Bromwich and RC Blue Eagle concluded by ties (1-1, 0-0, 1-1) and Italians reched the final thanks to penalties. So congratulations to Francesco (AC3) from Brescia for his beautiful victory. The competition occured in a good atmosphere and was improved by Kitcarson's lively commentaries. Find all results on the official website.
Soon comes the football world cup finals! I mean the WCCF ones of course! After Italy in 2006; England is chosen to host the second WCCF International Cup. The event will take place on Saturday May 19Th on 10:00am at Woking's Big Apple. it will be a gathering of the best players from England and Scotland but also those from Spain, Italy, Japan and event United Arab Emirates. In addition to the cup, many other prizes will be offered such as signed football shirts and exclusive memorabilia. Of course, we'll keep you informed of this major tournament's results. More than 100 WCCF machines are in operation throughout Europe. They spread between the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, Germany, France, Austria and Greece. For more information about this title, check out its dedicated page.
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